Inspiring social and environmental regeneration projects from across the world have been awarded funding after being announced as the winners of the annual Lush Spring Prize 2018.
The Lush Spring Prize, coordinated by Ethical Consumer Research Association, has regeneration and forward thinking at its core. The shared £200,000 prize fund has been awarded to 11 social and environmental regeneration projects that go above and beyond sustainability, across four prize categories.
The projects have been chosen for their commitment to regeneration—developing ways to live in harmony with nature and each other. They’re generating renewable resources, restoring ecosystems, nurturing solidarity and building health, wholeness and resilience.
Ethical Consumer’s Anna Clayton says: “The Spring Prize rewards projects that are challenging social perceptions and working against all odds to actually heal the landscapes they are part of.”
The Lush Spring Prize was first launched as a pilot prize fund in 2017, challenging degenerative systems across the globe, and showcasing better ways that don’t deplete resources or exploit people.
Due to its roaring success, it has returned as an annual prize fund with hopes to raise the profile of the pioneering regenerative movement and thus further inspire individuals, groups, and communities to heal damaged environments.
Over 300 nominations have been whittled down by a panel of expert judges in regenerative fields, including eco-village networks and permaculture, and on May 16th the 2018 Lush Spring Prize winners were announced:
Intentional Projects: For ideas and projects up to one year old
Terrena is a grassroots regeneration program that plans to develop a collection of seed gardens. It grew from the drastic shortage of organic seeds in Bolivia.
Hoping to move the enterprise forward, the team is organizing a seed cooperative to create seed gardens and is planning to develop a unique training program that will teach other would-be producers to organize and run their own seed cooperatives.
Jewels in the Desert
For almost half a century, the Sahrawi people have been forced to exist in remote refugee camps in the Sahara Desert. International collective ‘Surplus Permaculture Design’ has created Jewels in the Desert, a revolutionary project that aims to change this dire situation by regenerating the land, empowering the camp’s youth, and creating sustainable business ecosystems.
Countless Indigenous communities and landless people across Brazil are living with limited access to basic services, which has forced many to abandon their ancestral settlements and migrate to the city. But a group of young people living in the Ho Chi Minh settlement hope to change that with Guaracy, an agroecological farming plan that will improve communities.
AAQ - Agentes Agroflorestais Quilombolas (Quilombolas Agroforestry Agents)
Founded in 2017 by 20 young members living in the Quilombola territory of St. Rosa dos Pretos, Brazil, the AAQ rose up in response to the arrival of a mining company Vale SA, which has dramatically reduced the region’s natural resources over the course of 40 years.
Josiclea Pires da Silva, AAQ’s coordinator, says the £10,000 prize money from the Intentional Projects Award will help her community recover the forest of the Igarape Simauma, which borders the water, through the planting of native trees.
“Regeneration means to begin all that is ending, to begin the waters that are ending, to begin the land that is ending. For as long as there is recovery, there will be life,” she explains.
Young Projects: For groups or organizations that are 1-5 years old
Malawi Schools Permaculture Clubs
The Malawi Schools Permaculture Clubs (MSPC) is empowering Malawi’s rural youth by teaching them permaculture techniques to improve their everyday lives not only for themselves, but also their community.
Acting as a central information and resource hub to educate and support eco-focused farmers all over the globe, the International Permaculture Education Network (IPEN) dreams of facilitating a more sustainable way of life for its members and of collectively enhancing our planet’s prospects through permaculture education.
Following Greece’s ongoing debt crisis, its government has imposed severe austerity measures that have deeply impacted the lives and wellbeing of its people. But there’s a glimmer of hope through the gloom; as a Greek grassroots NGO, AgroEcoPolis is inspiring positive change and championing community-driven food production.
Established Projects: Recognizing groups that demonstrate successful and inspirational work over more than five years
An ecological sanitation group in Haiti known as SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) continues its efforts in helping to stop its country’s public health crisis spiral out of control. The key to its success? Converting human waste into rich, organic compost.
“At SOIL, regeneration is at the heart of everything we do,” says Dr Sasha Kramer, SOIL’s Executive Director and co-founder. “We believe that waste can be transformed to restore and revitalize, instead of perpetuating disease and degradation.”
Center Justice and Human Rights of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua (CEJUDHCAN)
Indigenous groups across Nicaragua are facing the most aggressive encroachment of their land ever witnessed in modern times. Pushing back and championing their rights is the Center for Justice and Human Rights of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. The center is rewarded for its inspiring work in successfully defending and empowering its people.
Influence Award: For organizations that are campaigning or lobbying to influence policy, regulation, or public opinion in support of regeneration
Industrial farming in India, with its focus on monoculture crops and synthetic chemicals, has had far-reaching environmental and social ramifications. Aiming to turn the tide is Amrita Bhoomi, a peasant agroecology training center which is shifting its country’s food system back towards biodiversity and ecological sustainability.
Network In May 2017, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) passed a history-making piece of legislation known as ‘Resolution 372’, which vows to safeguard the continent’s sacred natural sites and territories. The African Biodiversity Network (ABN) has been a key force in petitioning for this change in law.
ABN was established in the late 1990s, through the ‘African Group’ of policy-influencers, registering as a trust in Kenya in 2010. It now has 36 active partners in 12 countries across Africa, and has incubated a number of important regional initiatives, including the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA). Discover more about this year’s winners, or find out more about regeneration.